Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XIX

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first sixty-three comments were answered in the previous 18 posts, the sixty-fourth and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #64 “I love your work and information. I ran across this recently and thought you might appreciate it since it is what you have often said: ‘World Location First Errors—there (are many) articles and books that focus on a specific place in the world first, before analyzing the entire geography available in the Book of Mormon.  They typically use a few place names and features from the Book of Mormon to provide a cursory fit to some place in the world.  The rest of the Book of Mormon geography is then based on the geography of the part of the world that was selected.  The error with this approach is that if the first few places are not placed in the right world location, the rest of the map ends up not making any sense.  The map may become skewed or it becomes impossible to add all of the places.  The author then usually contradicts himself or herself trying to explain why some things don’t fit or just leaves places out of their description when they don’t fit.” Pearl W.
Response: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks.
Comment #65 “I find the parallels in phraseology of the Book of Mormon suggests a single author, not the many claimed to have written it.” Mona P.
The Prophet Mormon abridged the entire record except for the initial writings of Nephi and Jacob and the small portion prior to the Words of Mormon
Response: You are right with your first point. Mormon abridged the entire record—it is his writing we are reading; and Joseph Smith translated the entire record and it is his 1820s New England English language we are reading. Either way you look at it, the phraseology of the Book of Mormon is going to suggest a single author.
Comment #66 I believe in the Great Lakes/American Heartland model for the Land of Promise. Like others, I think that the statements Joseph Smith made were based on his knowing the location of the Book of Mormon. After all, looking at Joseph Smith's statements, he either knew or he didn't know. If he knew, he knew by revelation. And if he didn't know, you've got to ask yourself why he said the things that he said. It seems to me that if you don't agree with this line of reasoning, by implication, you think that Joseph lied.” Franklyn.
Response: At no time did Joseph Smith speak as a prophet uttering revelation regarding the location of the Book of Mormon. He had his own ideas, like many of us, and was free, like we are, to state them. We have posted here before Joseph’s own words about the fact that he did not always speak by revelation. He was, after all, an individual with his own mind and his own feelings and beliefs. When he spoke for the Church, he was speaking as a Prophet. However, the Church has never stated officially, nor has any of its leaders, where the Book of Mormon lands were located, other than in the Western Hemisphere. That many early leaders had strong feelings about it is obvious and understandable—just like many good LDS people do today. The fact that you believe in the Great Lakes or Heartland areas is your personal prerogative, and you are certainly entitled to that. I might suggest that you compare all the geographical comments described by Mormon and others in the scriptural record against that belief. The Book of Mormon, after all, is the first, second, and final word on the matter until the Church officially states a location.
Comment #67 “Why is there so much controversy and contention about the geographical locations of the Book of Mormon. Does it really matter where the Land of Promise was located?”
Response: First of all, there should be no contention regarding the Book of Mormon. Contention is fostered by the Adversary. Controversy, on the other hand, comes when people have and state their beliefs, opinions, and feelings on a matter and that, I suppose, is to be expected. However, what really matters about the Book of Mormon is the doctrines found therein. It is, after all, a Second Witness of Jesus Christ, and as such, a companion work to the Bible. Having said that, I also believe that when we determine a location for the Book of Mormon lands, we can better appreciate and even more understand the writing within it. Since I have spent the past nearly 25 years on this subject, the geographical understanding of the Land of Promise has added to my testimony and knowledge of the Book of Mormon and all that is within its pages, just as has knowledge of the Holy Land assisted millions to a testimony of the Bible. While a geographical location is not essential to help understand, appreciate, and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I have found it most helpful and beneficial.
Comment #68 “I find the Rapid Change in Lamanite Skin Color listed in the Book of Mormon hard to accept. How could skin color change so rapidly.” Trayson.
Response: Like in the times of Cain, the Lord cursed Laban and Lemuel and those with them who were opposed to the Lord and his plan, and placed a mark upon them. For the Deity who has created worlds without number, all the heavens, galaxies, supergalaxies, etc., etc., etc., anything and everything is possible. For the God who created DNA, to change its markers and the resultant effects, such as skin coloring, physical appearance, etc., is well within reason. Personally, I refrain from limiting what the Lord can do.
Comment #69 “The Book of Mormon contains some thousand years of history with numerous geographical locations stated, but nothing definitive. Can any of us imagine a Bible minus any definitive geography?” Daryl.
Response: A rather comical comment. When the early French and English knights, as well as numerous peasants, started off for the Crusades in the 11th century A.D., they had little knowledge about the Levant, and almost no idea where Jerusalem was exactly located. None had ever been there. They knew only that they were headed for the Eastern Mediterranean littoral, and the Holy Land beyond, but couldn’t have told you where Bethlehem was, how far from Jerusalem it was located, or where Jericho was located, or the Dead Sea—in fact, they knew nothing “definitively” about any of the Holy Land, nor about the Turkish Anatolia where Pope Urban II had called the western volunteers to help the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos repel the invading Seljuq Turks. Had they not have had mariners and other guides taking them there, they might not have even found their destinations. They went to win back the Levant and the Holy Land from Muslim control, but were not at all conversant as to specific geographical locations and areas. In a word, they had no idea of the definitive geography of the biblical locations. How interesting people think what is known today was always known. For centuries, as an example, the City of Troy (Troia), mentioned in both Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, written in the eighth century B.C., as well as briefly in Virgil’s Aeneid, and in the Sack of Troy (Ilioupersis) the ninth epic of the Epic Cycle, attributed to Arctinus of Miletu, was all considered a fictional account for centuries. No one had ever found the city or believed in its actual existence. However, the ancient city was discovered by Charles McLaren in 1822 and then excavated by Heinrich Schliemann from 1870 to 1890. The Homeric city was found within what they called the “layers of ruins” in the citadel at Hisarlık which are now numbered Troy I through Troy IX, with various subdivisions. It is located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey,  south of the southwest end of the Dardanelles-Hellespont and northwest of Mount Ida, in an area anciently called Troas. Today, the City of Troy is “definitive”; however, for some twenty-five hundred years, it wasn’t even believed to have been real.
Left: Part of the remaining Walls of Ancient Troy located on the Biga Peninsula, anciently called Troad or Troas in the northwestern part of Anatolia, Turkey; Right: The fabled Trojan Horse of the Iliad
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XX,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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